August 16, 2017

If we know the truth of the following words and that they apply to each of us created in His image, AS WE ARE, why must the hate continue to defeat love? Where is peace?

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well. -Psalm 139:14



Weather or Not

August 6, 2011

As I sit here at the keyboard and as I was just about to click “enter” and pop to one site or another in this cyber world, I was interrupted by darkness, then rain, and now thunder . . . got me to thinking about interruptions which we sometimes mistake as a curse when they are really blessings . . .

The neighbors have dogs which do not like this noisy weather and don’t understand it much . . . so I know right now, there are adults sitting in comfy chairs in living rooms with dogs in their laps . . . the dogs shaking in fear until the human speaks in soft tones.  I know they likely had other things to do, but somehow the image of a stormy day and providing comfort to a creature that only knows how to love us seems a blessing to me . . .

A friend from church has a small boy.  He’s just a year old and just started to walk.  It excites her to see this and also reminds her that he’s growing up so fast . . . there was a message a little while back, not so long ago, of a day when he was extra clingy.  She spent a great deal of time that day just cuddling him . . . she had so much else to do that day, and yet I know what she spent her time doing blessed her . . .

There was a little girl in my life some years back . . . we were taking a walk.  It was a walk with a purpose.  It was hot and we didn’t have a car that day and we needed to get to the store.  She stopped.  I prodded her to “come along now” and turned to see that she’d stopped to poke at some weeds.  I was about to tell her to leave that mess alone when she turned to me with love in her eyes and said “flowers for you Aunt Martha.”  I had those treasured “flowers” in my room for a long time after they’d gone limp and then dry . . . I now carry the memory . . .  and it blesses me still. 

It is positively pouring out just now.  I remember a time I was heading from the subway to a college I wanted to attend.  I was required to be interviewed before I could be officially accepted.  I didn’t listen to the forecast that day and thus as I rushed up the street just two blocks from the school and the registrar’s office, I got soaked by a sudden rain and realized I had no umbrella.  I was shocked, felt stupid, and was sure the interview would go badly, but then I realized that I was beyond the point of doing anything to change my circumstance and started to laugh!  The rain stopped as I headed into a public restroom and dried my hair using the hand blower.  I was distracted by all that and forgot to be uneasy over my interview.  I got accepted probably because the rain made me forget to be afraid I’d fail. 

So, rain on!  I didn’t really want to go out and run errands.  They can wait.   I shall curl up in my recliner with a good book.  We have enough bread and milk to wait another day or two. 

Life is full of unexpected blessings!   Embrace them!

A Brief Reminder – Always Pray

April 30, 2011


Okay, this is really a reminder to me, but maybe someone out there is experiencing a similar bit of human weakness just now, so I’m sharing this with you and sending along with these words a caring hug.  For you see, the last day or two has found me feeling a bit off, discouraged, sad.  Nothing in my life has dramatically changed, mind you.  Is that why I feel this way?  It is hormones?  Is it the weather?  Who knows if these things are part of it or not, but as I sat and had some quiet time just now, it came to me that I’ve not had much “time” for that in the last couple of days . . . so I prayed for the Holy Spirit to fill me and guard and guide me and I found myself reading these words from the Gospel of Luke 18: 1 where I was reminded “I always pray.  I don’t faint, quit, or give up.”  Wow.  So, did I mention what we all know but somehow need to be reminded of?  He always answers prayer and that quote was proof of it!  I asked and He answered IMMEDIATELY.  Praise the name of the Lord!   As I reflected on this, I realized that  the tightness I’d felt off and on for a day or two was suddenly a bit less and then I found these words from John 16:24 “I ask and receive and my joy is made full.”  Thank you,  Lord.

Pull Weeds – Cultivate Joy

April 3, 2011

Psalm 30:5 tells us that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”  Oh, joy!  Sure.  You know, sometimes life deals us moments of spectacular and sometimes not so much.  It seems to me that it’s easier to hold onto the “not so much” than it is to hold onto the joy.  Why is that?  It seems simple enough to understand that some of the things that make us weep, and these relate to the Psalmist’s words here, are anger, hurt, and discouragement.  We may not wish to admit to our tears, and we may try to hide them, but they do come.  These things certainly would make us “weep for a night.”  Why, then do we tend to hold onto these negative feelings and worse yet share them so eagerly?  Why, also, does joy seem to be so fleeting?  Why do we tend to jealously keep it to ourselves rather than share it? 

These questions bring us back to the initial question of why we seem to be more able to hold onto our “not so much” feelings and less able to hold onto our joy.  When we’re happy we tend to feel much more independent, don’t we?  I do.  Happiness and joy make me feel like “I’ve got it” and “it’s all under control.”  When I’m hurt, angry and discouraged, I am far more likely to share those feelings with those around me.  I guess on some level we feel as though if we share our feelings, it’ll “get better” but when it comes to the negative ones, that’s not how it works.  How often do you go about your day and encounter comments like “I hate it when . . . “ or “did you see what he just did?” or “that’s not fair!” or “I have such a headache” to name a few, but how often in your typical day do you hear “wow, I am so full of joy today!”  It sounds rather trite, but it’s true that our attitudes are contagious.  What we share with the person next to us, they pass on to another.   

Joy, on the other hand,  is fleeting and like a garden, it needs to be cultivated.  Complaining, like weeds, grows easily and quickly consumes not just our little garden patch, but soon overtakes the entire yard and then spreads to neighboring gardens as well.  Complaining is habitual.  Negativity.  We  hold onto it.  We allow it, like the untended weeds, to spread.  It’s easier that way, but is it better?  I don’t think so.  Words have power in them.  In the book of Genesis we learn this in a wonderful way.  Genesis 1:3 tells us, “and God said “let there be light,” and there was light.”  Those four simple words yielded power and a wonderful world was created yet; words can also destroy.  Proverbs 10:11 makes this clear, telling us “the mouth of the righteous man is a well of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.”  God lives in us.  We reflect God outwardly to the world around us.  We want to be good disciples.  We need to pull those weeds of anger, discouragement, and hurt out of our gardens even though it’s hard work sometimes.  We need to cultivate joy.  As we are told in 1 John 4:12, “when I walk in love, God is present.”  Glory be to God!

Joy Regardless of Circumstance

March 31, 2011

As the day of the first Pentecost began, what was the scene?  Let’s look to the book of Acts.  In Acts 2:1 we are told that “when the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.” We know this story and we know the mood in that room.  We also know that Jesus assured them and assures us that He will be with us always.  It comes as no surprise that His Holy Spirit changed that day, but did it?  It seems to me that the circumstances of the lives of those in the room didn’t change at that moment, but what did change was at a much deeper level.  The change was within the hearts and souls of those men and when we are open to the Holy Spirit and seek help, we too can be changed.  So, does this apply to just ministers, priests, and people who aren’t like us?  Should we respect this notion but call upon the Holy Spirit when something “big” is going on in our lives but handle the little things on our own? 

We certainly do tend to bring the Lord into our lives when “we can’t handle” things  but all but forget Him when “we’ve got it.”  I question this logic.  In fact, I totally oppose it.   Why settle for good enough when the Lord wants to give us so much more?  So, let me tell you about last night.  I just couldn’t sleep.  My name is Martha and I felt like “Martha” last night.  I was distracted by many things.  Oh, and to make things even more clear, I kept rolling over and looking at the clock.  Yup, that’s a great  solution, isn’t it?  So at some point I started praying.  I can’t say how much sleep I got, but as I got up, I prayed for the Holy Spirit to be with me throughout this day.  I asked “guard me, guide me, fill me, use me, and enable me to have joy regardless of my circumstances.”  The Lord provided!  My day was fairly routine.  If I gave you a list of everything that happened, it might not seem remarkable to you at all.  However, this routine day with it’s challenges and mundane tasks and the rest of it, was joy filled because as the Psalmist wrote (Psalm 5:11) “but let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.”  So, why waste a single moment?  We have been blessed and filled with grace!  It’s a beautiful gift inside you just waiting for you to reach in for it and open it wide!  Open wide your heart and soul and you, too, can have joy REGARDLESS of your circumstances!  Try it!  I promise you that no matter what the day brings, if you invite the Holy Spirit to fill you, guide you, and guard you, you will find the joy of the Lord swelling up within you as well!

In Praise of Hard Times

March 22, 2011

If our lives were always easy, would we appreciate it?  I think most of us would quickly say “yes” we would!  However, I am not convinced that this is true.  In this season of Lent as I consider anew what the Lord has done for me both on a daily basis AND of course when as God made flesh, He allowed Himself to be tortured and murdered for my sin, I can’t help but realize that my hard times – which I am still working through – have been such a blessing to me.  My hard times have so strengthened my personal relationship with Him.  I still don’t know exactly what He has planned for me tomorrow but I’m smiling today and praising Him!   “who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”  2 Corinthians 1:4

Just a sheep . . .

March 21, 2011

I read somewhere that “the Son of God would rather die for us than live without us.”  Amazingly, we trust our family, our friends, our own judgement, our “cyber” friends whom we’ve never met, even strangers on the street and yet do we trust God?  We strive to, but we fall short.  Yet, He is perfect.  He loves us.  We do nothing to deserve this love.  He is with us always.  There is no greater love.  Yet, our faith and trust of Him falls short. 

In this time of Lent as we are reminded of His death on a cross to save us, let’s invite Him more fully into our lives and hearts.  When folks speak of “giving up” things for Lent, I tend to think we could truly benefit more by “giving” instead.  Rededicating our lives to Christ – giving ourselves and our lives TOTALLY to Him – I can think of no greater gift we can give to OURSELVES.  The Good Shepherd who takes such perfect care of His sheep and indeed would and DID lay down His life so that we, His sheep, could live eternally with Him!  There is no greater love!

I am sad but ALSO JOYFUL!

March 21, 2011

So, does that sound crazy?  The world loves to toss around the word happy.  We are happy or we are sad.  Can’t be both.  Naturally, we prefer to be happy all the time.  Not logical to expect it, but well, we aren’t always logical, are we?  So, this happiness thing . . . what’s up with that?  Well, to keep things simple, something happens – if we like the something that happened and if it impacts us, we generally will be happy.  Sometimes we do things to “make” us happy, and not always good things, but that happy feeling is something we like and it doesn’t last.  We have to keep chasing it and finding ways to bring it back to us.  Okay, makes sense.  So, very clearly if we are happy, we are not at the same moment sad.  One replaces the other.  Both are connected to specific stimulus. 

Joy, however, comes from within us.  It’s not reliant on external conditions.  It can rain and I can be full of joy.  No, that doesn’t mean I love rain nor do I hate rain, but it just means joy comes from deep inside me where Jesus lives.  It never rains in there.  I can hold hands with Jesus anytime I want to.  He’s always with me.  That can only result in joy, yet external conditions can be such that I am sad and YET having Jesus in my heart and soul brings joy into the equation and so what is the result?  A specific circumstance can make me sad, but the presence of the Lord can override this circumstance and STILL bring me joy even in a time of sadness.  I think, for me, I can only deal with sadness because I have Jesus to love me and “infect” me with His joy.  In fact, He gives me so much joy that I have to share it and I never run out!  Happy can’t do that for me.  Do I like being happy?  Sure, but I prefer joy! 

So, what brought about all this thought just now?  Well, a couple of things.  For one thing, it seems to me that I can choose to be joyful.  Jesus lives in my heart but I don’t always pay Him the attention I should.  Sometimes I get caught up in “me” and suddenly the world seems to be against me.  When I turn my gaze toward Him, none of that matters and in fact, I don’t even notice it anymore.  All I notice is Him and all I really become aware of is His love and joy.  So, if I’m having a bad day, I can get caught up in complaining and very likely those around me who were having a good day might suddenly get caught up in my negativity and next thing you know, I am not the only one in a bad mood.  Alternatively, I can come into a scene where all around me are grumpy and negative and I can smile and be reflective of the joy of the Lord, and someone is bound to catch it!  I can even force a smile on my face and deliberately remind myself that “the joy of the Lord is my strength” even when I’m feeling bad, and the “bad” feeling often goes away!  How cool is that? 

The other thing that got me thinking of this is that I have two friends who have faced so many difficulties in their lives.  Illness, family challenges, financial challenges, and much more.  One of these dear friends lives in heaven and one on earth.  Do you know what?  I can’t think of a time when I’ve seen anything but the joy of the Lord and a giving heart in either of these two special people.  No matter how sick either has been, no matter how much has ever “gone wrong” in their circumstances, they still reflected joy and they focused on Christ AND they focused on those around them – striving to lift US up by shining His light toward US!  As I looked into the eyes of my friend earlier today and knowing his troubles, I am sad.  I remember feeling the same way before when my friend who lives with Jesus was still here with me in form and not just in spirit.  Do you know what?  I never saw sadness in her eyes and I didn’t see it in his today at church.  I saw only the love of Jesus and His joy!  There is no better testimony than that!

The Gift of Sadness

March 7, 2011

 “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”  Psalm 30:5   NIV

 A friend mentioned that while grocery shopping, he suddenly felt a need to cry.  He felt a great sadness in his heart and yet the tears would not come.  Emotions – we all have them.  My friend’s feelings reminded me of my own emotions which can bring about a feeling of sadness.  I do not always know why the sadness has come to me when it seemed that “everything was fine.”  I prayed about this and was reminded of the command to bear one another’s burdens.  We do not always know why the Lord asks us to do certain things, yet we proceed in faith and trust.  Perhaps when sudden sadness comes to me, I am being asked to help carry the burden of another?  Yes, I believe that when this feeling comes over me that perhaps somewhere there is an individual who is feeling unable to go on and weighed down to the breaking point.  I believe a brief period of unexplained sadness in my heart means that I may be carrying some of his load for him.   As followers of Christ we are called to reflect His glory to those in dark places.  This is a blessing to us and is both amazing and humbling.  We need to keep this in mind when we experience emotions.  We do not always know when a smile, a casual greeting, an act of patience or kindness or even a tear maybe be a blessing to others at a time when they really need it.  We will not always be aware of how our actions bless others, but we should always pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us wisdom and trust to follow where we are led.  As the Psalmist wrote, “weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”  God is good!


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